We've all been forced to come up with some new and creative ways to entertain ourselves in the age of Covid-19. But what do you do when you run out of mask-making material and you tire of sourdough? Well, if you're director Jason Reitman, you email a small army of celebrities and get them to shoot bits and pieces of a cult classic film for you to stitch together into a mishmash remake in order to raise money for charity.
Reitman's inspiration in this case is the 1987 Rob Reiner film The Princess Bride. But his version will see a squad of familiar faces tagging in and out from scene to scene while portraying Westley, Buttercup, Inigo Montoya, Fezzik, The Six-Fingered Man and the rest of the original film's colorful cast of characters. Celebrities like Josh Gad, Neil Patrick Harris, Joe Jonas, Sophie Turner, Jennifer Garner, Common, Tiffany Hadish, Patton Oswalt, Jack Black, David Oyelowo, Chris Pine, Sam Rockwell, and Hugh Jackman all filmed various scenes in their own homes during lockdown, utilizing a child-like, homemade aesthetic when it came to props and costumes - a garden hose in place of a rope or a small, adorable dog in place of the Rats Of Unusual Size. Actors filmed their scenes in isolation with their phones and then Reitman and his post-production team cut it all together while waiting to resume work on Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which is currently delayed until 2021.
The finished film is available to watch in daily installments over two weeks starting Monday, June 29th on Quibi, a streaming service whose very name induces involuntary eye-rolling. Look, I know that dunking on Quibi has become a favorite pastime of the internet, but I'll be honest, I feel sorry for them. Quibi's launch managed to be both overhyped and undercooked, while the entire basis of their business model - providing shortform content that's designed to be consumed in the small gaps of your daily life, like your morning commute - basically evaporated overnight before the platform even got a chance to launch. I've watched a fair bit of Quibi's content and some of it is pretty damn good. The comedy Dummy and the documentary series Run This City are particularly strong offerings and are more than deserving of an audience, plus they've got a remake of The Fugitive on the way which certainly has me curious.
Reitman's Princess Bride remake is meant not only as a bit of fun for viewers, but also as an effort to raise funds for World Central Kitchen, the charity project of chef Jose Andres which has been helping to keep restaurants in the black by paying them to provide food to families in need. Quibi has already donated $1 million dollars to WCK and hopefully viewers will keep the ball rolling.
Movie Nerd/Dad from Boston, currently living the good life in New Zealand.